Bold predictions for an odd year


Oct 31, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; The San Francisco Giants team poses for photos during the World Series celebration at City Hall. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in game seven of the World Series. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing for certain about baseball, superstition is part of the game.  But as the great Michael Scott of Dunder-Mifflin once put it, “I’m not superstitious, but I’m a little stitious”.  This being an odd-numbered year, the expectations for the San Francisco Giants might be lowered, but for fans, we can only hope for a strong effort from the reigning World Champs.

Sep 7, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) talks to pitching coach Dave Righetti (33) against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Opening day is only 2 1/2 weeks away, and patience is waning from the Giants’ skipper.  Bruce Bochy spoke with Chris Haft, of, explaining,

"“We’re not doing anything very well right now,” Bochy said. Looking ahead to the regular season, he added, “We’re not even close to being ready.”"

Their last place 4-12 record so far in Arizona speaks as loud as the projected starting rotation’s ERA ( Madison Bumgarner, 8.64; Matt Cain, 9.82; Tim Lincecum, 13.50; Jake Peavy, 7.71.Ryan Vogelsong), but translating performances during Spring Training to the regular season is typically just a guessing game.

Still, with Boch’s concern, and some of the more reliable bats still waiting to be awakened (Nori Aoki (.148), Joe Panik (.103), Buster Posey (.176) and Brandon Crawford (.125)) the season’s forecast looks cloudy with a chance of failure.

But with a small sample size, and a bit of guess-timating, here are a few of my bold predictions for the 2015 regular season:

Mar 6, 2015; Surprise, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants third baseman Casey McGehee throws to first against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1 – Casey McGehee takes on a leadership role – the Giants of recent years, have been a team that embraces new-comers.  Just ask Ryan Theriot, Hunter Pence and Michael Morse.  At 32, this isn’t McGehee’s first rodeo, and the new 3rd basemen is up for the challenge.  He described his approach to Tracy Ringolsby of,

"“In a weird way, I enjoy people having doubts,” McGehee said. “It is one more reason I have to prepare every day. It’s one more reason I have to push myself every day. It’s not me against the world, but it is me proving that I am good enough to be here.”"

He’s been on 6 different MLB teams (including SF), and had a stint in Japan (where most players don’t return to the MLB from).  His positive attitude and strong work ethic will make him an asset to the young players and a trusted teammate to the veterans.  Look for Mighty Casey to be a voice in the clubhouse and dugout this season.

Oct 24, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo (54) is relieved by manager Bruce Bochy (left) in the 8th inning against the Kansas City Royals during game three of the 2014 World Series at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

2 –  After a slow start, the bullpen will undergo major changes – Sergio Romo has only played for one team in his career.  The core of Sergio, Casilla, Affeldt and Lopez have been together since the historic 2010 title run.  But the youth movement is coming, and this will be the year we see the transition happen.  After a slow start and numerous brutal outings, expect to see the Giants put some of that core unit on the block to gain youth and perhaps give the up-and-comers a shot at a more substantial role.

Mar 3, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants left fielder Juan Perez (2) fields the ball against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning at HoHoKam Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

3 – Musical outfielders – In 2012 Angel Pagan played a huge role in the Giant’s second World Series victory in three seasons.  But the injury bug has left him in and out of the lineup for the past two seasons and he’ll do the same in 2015.  With Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco capable of playing multiple outfield positions, this will leave time for Juan Perez (and maybe Gary Brown or Travis Ishikawa) to prove themselves as viable replacements for Pagan. Expect to see a variety of combinations patrolling the outfield in 2015.

4 – The Giants barely make the last wild-card spot – In true torturous fashion the Giants will scrap for the final wild card spot, only to lose the single game playoff to make it to the NLDS, and thus the curse of the even-numbered year lives on.  The Dodgers again lead the NL West division, but will fall to the Nationals in the NLCS.  The Nationals will bring Washington (and Montreal) their franchise’s first pennant defeating the Boston Red Sox (in six games) with the Panda, again, showing his post-season prowess.

Bold or not-so-bold, we will see how my predictions play out over the next 7 months.  I would like nothing more than my final prediction to be inaccurate, and see both the Warriors and Giants earn some impressive new jewelry in 2015.  But whether it happens, or not, I can hardly wait for the season to begin.